Inside the Beltway: A Showcase for Media Hypocrisy; the ACLU Views Sex Differences as 'Discredited Notions'

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 19, 2014 | Go to article overview

Inside the Beltway: A Showcase for Media Hypocrisy; the ACLU Views Sex Differences as 'Discredited Notions'


Byline: Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

This is what happens when a news organization has positioned itself to be the nation's role model in all things media. The New York Times insists that fairness, integrity and truth make up its standards. There is a 57-page guide to "ethical journalism" for employees, a "commitment" to diversity and let us not forget the 117-year-old motto declaring "all the news that's fit to print." With what's going on, it's no wonder that press and pundits continue to pursue The Times, currently in a public relations battle after executive editor Jill Abramson was fired five days ago over a salary dispute. And out in the heartland, there are likely many grass-roots Americans who ask "The New York what?" and "Jill who?"

The Manhattan media in particular have ramped the story up into a dramatic tableau for gender discrimination, equal pay issues and the brittle follies of elite journalism at its elitist. But wait. There's more.

"If the pay discrepancy charge is accurate, The Times' hypocrisy is showing. Since Abramson became executive editor, the newspaper ran 90 pieces mentioning 'equal pay,' not including many more blogs on the subject," says Julia Seymour, an analyst with the Business and Media Institute who did the counting. The 90 articles included 21 op-eds or editorials and 69 news stories. The total doesn't include articles that were about equal pay but used other phrasing such as 'wage gap' or 'gender pay,' she says, adding, "Maybe when it comes to their own business and bottom line, The Times isn't quite as liberal as it would have people believe."

Oh, but it's complicated.

"I love the idea that the liberal elite is not very worried about the persecution of Jill Abramson, who made only $750,000 a year last year at The New York Times," Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol observed Sunday on ABC'S "This Week." "I think you guys should be much more upset about Arthur Sulzberger Why does he run The New York Times? Because he inherited it."

MR. SULZBERGER HITS BACK

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. -- who took over for his father Arthur Ochs Sulzberger as chairman and publisher of The Times in 1992 -- has issued a statement to explain all. Sort of. Here is part of it.

"Perhaps the saddest outcome of my decision to replace Jill Abramson as executive editor of The New York Times is that it has been cast by many as an example of the unequal treatment of women in the workplace. Rather than accepting that this was a situation involving a specific individual who, as we all do, has strengths and weaknesses, a shallow and factually incorrect storyline has emerged," he said, disputing reports that "Jill's compensation package was not comparable with her predecessor's."

Mr. Sulzberger instead drew attention to the former editor's job performance, citing "arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues."

He continued, "We are very proud of our record of gender equality at The New York Times. Many of our key leaders -- both in the newsroom and on the business side -- are women. So too are many of our rising stars. They do not look for special treatment, but expect to be treated with the same respect as their male colleagues. For that reason they want to be judged fairly and objectively on their performance. That is what happened in the case of Jill."

ON THE ADVANCE RADAR

"L" stands for "liberty" rather than liberal in this case. Now in the planning stages, it's LPAC 2014, organized by the Campaign for Liberty -- a grass-roots group whose chairman is Ron Paul -- and scheduled for Sept. 18-20 at a site just outside the nation's capital. Mr. Paul, of course, plus his son Sen. Rand Paul are among the 40 speakers on the podium. Grappling with "establishment" officials and motivating grass-roots folk is on the agenda. …

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